The Process Review Committee, established last spring after a College faculty vote, has released a report about the decision-making process that resulted in the department changes announced in September 2012.
The committee’s 25-page report, obtained by the Wheel on Monday afternoon, says the committee used interviews, written materials and “informal communications” to reach its conclusions.
Emory’s Division of Educational Studies, Department of Visual Arts and Journalism program will soon close, and the Laney Graduate School will suspend admissions to some of its programs.
Among the key findings in the report were that the College Bylaws “do not contain clear and sufficient procedures for the closing, changing or reorganizing [of] departments or programs.” However, the report also notes that former College Dean Robert Paul and current College Dean Robin Forman did not violate College Bylaws in their decisions to “reduce and reorganize” affected departments and programs.
And, the report says, “there were problems in communication” between the College administration and the programs and departments that were affected.
Additionally, the report includes recommendations moving forward, including that the College Bylaws be rewritten to clarify procedures for departmental and program reorganizations. The other recommendations included:
- College faculty should join with the University Faculty Senate to “strengthen the appeals procedure beyond the College for lecture-track faculty” who might have been affected by the department changes.
- College faculty and Forman should “work out less ambiguous and more effective avenues of communication to improve planning and reduce unpleasant surprises.”
- College faculty should work with Forman to update the liberal arts mission of the College.
The members of the committee included Matthew Bernstein, professor and chair in the Department of Film and Media Studies; Oded Borowski, professor of Biblical Archaeology and Hebrew; Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology; Fred Menger, Charles Howard Candler Professor in the Department of Chemistry; and Gordon Newby, Goodrich C. White Professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies.
The committee – also referred to as the Payne Committee after Associate Professor in the Department of History Matthew Payne, who proposed its creation – formed after a College faculty meeting last spring. The motion to create such a committee passed by a slim margin: 88 to 84, the Wheel reported last year.
At Emory, the department changes have caused much controversy since September 2012, including protests on campus, the formation of the group #EmoryCuts and appeals and grievances filed by faculty members about position cuts and departmental reassignments.
– By Jordan Friedman
A full story will be available in Tuesday’s issue.